Friday, April 13, 2012

Play to Win

NYLON magazine ran Diane Vadino's article, "Play to Win," (zip to page 170) a short, playful, fashiony article featuring Rue (Amandla Stenberg), Clove (Isabelle Fuhrman), Glimmer (Leven Rambin) and Foxface (Jackie Emerson), all minor characters in the Hunger Games movie.

Yes, I saw the Hunger Games at 12:00 AM the day of its release. Yes, I saw it without any (lame) friends who may have been worried about being groggy the next day at work. Yes, I bought myself an excruciating amount of exorbitantly priced popcorn. Yes, the theatre was packed. And no, no, no, I did not regret one minute. Especially not when some young lads in the balcony (thank you, Uptown theatre) began chanting "Peeta! Peeta!" before hand.

First, Amandla Stenberg (Rue) is dressed adorably throughout the 4-page spread. Second, there is a reason Nylon is focusing on the ladies, and it's not because of the typical female reasons.

A friend (I'm looking at you mlle kitty) asked me what the fuss was about. And it's this: Harry Potter was dark, and the characters did anything to defeat evil, for justice, for freedom, perhaps just because they had the courage to do it. Spoiler: Everything works out in the end. Everybody gets a family; gets a good job; gets the girl. Even Draco gets a girl.

In the Twilight series, the world is dark, and heck, why not, because the world is hyper-romantic and the main characters do anything for love. Love conquers all right? If you love someone enough you can make it work, no? You can change the world. You can even change yourself.

Well, in the Hunger Games, the world is dark, and the characters will do anything to ... eat. The sappy, doe-eye, idealistic characters are ... all men. Depression and disappointment and bad luck means starvation, and perhaps a brutal death, while the affluent one percent cheers your demise. Attempts to escape mean punishment and humiliation and silence. Sound familiar? Oh yeah, it does. It sounds like real life.

Here is a dash of realism that Vadino did not overlook. "The stakes of victory are not the triumph of good  over evil, but, for most of them, the sad remaining years of a life interrupted ... The Hunger Games is the right match for the cash-strapped wartime during which it was created."

Okay, also the lead character, Katniss, is a steel-hearted, huntress who can shoot a deer through the eye.


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